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British Columbia Canada Vancouver Island wildlife

Podcast: Photographer Christian Sasse discusses hawk chick raised by bald eagles

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An adult bald eagle with eaglet and hawklet in a nest located on Vancouver Island, Canada.

[box]NOTE: Photographer Christian Sasse hopes to broadcast live from the nest location on Vancouver Island today. His live streams are on YouTube and Periscope (links at the end of this post). [/box]

On Vancouver Island, a familiar bald eagle nest is suddenly home to a most unfamiliar scene.  

The eagle parents are not only busy feeding three eaglets in that nest.  They’re also feeding a baby red tailed hawk!

How it all came to be remains a mystery.

But there’s no doubt about who’s been capturing some spectacular, intimate moments on video.

In today’s podcast, Photographer Christian Sasse of Surrey, British Columbia shares some insights into this compelling story.

He shoots with an 800mm lens, allowing him to get extreme close-ups of the nest, while standing a great distance away.

The interview featured in today’s podcast took place the night before another ferry ride to Vancouver Island, where Sasse will return to the nest location with longtime bald eagle researcher David Hancock at his side.

VIDEO PLAYLIST: Christian Sasse videos featuring hawk chick being raised by bald eagles

 

RELATED LINKS:

Christian Sasse on YouTube

Christian Sasse on Periscope

Hancock Wildlife Foundation

Professor David Bird

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Newspaper: Police knew about footless body before last week

NEW/RelatedWashington officials to send piece of footless skeleton to B.C. (Vancouver Sun, July 22)

(July 21) How do you have a high-profile investigation about five mystery feet washing-up along the coast of British Columbia and not look into the case of a footless body found washed ashore just across the border?

That’s been the question slowly-aimed at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police ever since last Friday’s exclusive CTV report concerning a body found on the shores of Orcas Island, Washington more than a year ago. In fairness, the report also said that the coroner in Washington State never felt compelled to notify the the BC Coroners Service about the Orcas Island discovery until after he was contacted by the CTV crew last week.

But according to a story published in this morning’s Globe and Mail, the RCMP was already aware of the Orcas Island body prior to last week’s CTV story.  Here are the lead paragraphs in today’s Globe and Mail report:

Police investigating washed-up feet knew about an unidentified, footless body found off the shores of Orcas Island in Washington before media reports last week, RCMP Constable Annie Linteau said yesterday.

But she wouldn’t say when they found out about the body or what actions they’ve taken to work with authorities in Washington to see if it is connected to the disembodied feet discovered on B.C.’s shores.

Just last Friday, CTV reported:

But (San Juan County Coroner Randy) Gaylord says Canadian authorities never contacted him, and despite international media coverage he admits he never bothered to tell them he had a footless body.

It wasn’t until CTV News called Gaylord that he decided to inform the BC Coroners Service. It’s asked for DNA.

The long delay in making the connection between the U.S. body and the B.C. feet raises questions about communication between jurisdictions.

Now let’s return to this morning’s Globe and Mail:

San Juan County coroner Randall Gaylord said Canadian authorities didn’t contact him to ask about the body until last Thursday. According to documents from the sheriff’s office, U.S. authorities informed the Canadian Police Information Centre about the find in May, 2007. Sheriff office records don’t show any contact by the RCMP regarding the detached feet until July 17 of this year.

Although the RCMP recently announced that DNA has helped solve the mystery concerning one of the five feet found in the Strait of Georgia, more questions have surfaced concerning the handling of the information from Washington State.

Was last Friday’s CTV report correct when it suggested the RCMP was unaware of the Orcas Island case until CTV seemingly put the wheels into motion?

On its Web site Friday, CTV posed what had seemed like a fair–and quite serious–question:

The long delay in making the connection between the U.S. body and the B.C. feet raises questions about communication between jurisdictions.

Meantime, according to today’s Globe and Mail, the RCMP only requested a DNA sample of the Orcas Island body just last Thursday.

That alone seems to say a lot.

(You can read all of the Beyond90Seconds.com stories about the B.C. Mystery Feet here.)


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Breaking News: Missing foot man won’t be named

In a case that has fascinated people worldwide, police say they will not release the name of a missing man whose foot washed-up in Canada’s Strait of Georgia.

DNA was used to make this first match in the case of the five mystery feet that have surfaced from the waters off the coast of British Columbia.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police released the following update this afternoon:

B.C. – Tip Leads to Positive ID of Found Foot

File #2008 2008-07-21 12:45 PDTBURNABY-As a result of a tip from the public, investigators from the BC Coroners Service, RCMP and Delta Police are confirming they have made a positive identification for the remains of a right foot in a Campus running shoe found on Jedediah Island on Aug. 20, 2007.

At the request of the family, the identity of the victim will not be released to the public, though investigators can confirm he was from the Lower Mainland. RCMP investigators confirm that additional information provided by family members allowed for the identity of the victim to be verified more quickly. Cause of death is not known at this time though no evidence of foul play exists.

Investigations by the RCMP, Delta Police Department and the Coroners Service to determine identities in the three remaining cases of feet found between Aug. 2007 and June 2008 in the waters around Gabriola Island, Valdez Island, Kirkland Island and Westham Island are ongoing. On July 10, 2008, it was confirmed that the foot found on Valdez Island and the one found on Westham Island are from the same male.

Investigators also confirm that DNA analysis of the five feet has excluded all victims from the 2005 Quadra Island plane crash.

Click to view photographs of the shoes and information from the police. Anyone with information, or who may recognize one of the shoes as belonging to a missing loved one is asked to call 1-866-504-3888.

No further information is available from the Coroners Service or police at this time.

To date, Beyond90Seconds.com has published seven stories (including this update) about this mysterious case.  You may read all of those stories here (listed most recent to oldest).

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Breaking News: Possible match in mystery feet case


Update: July 19, 6:57pm PST
Feet mystery unrelated to downed plane, CTV (link includes VIDEO)

DNA testing has eliminated the possibility that the feet found washing ashore in B.C. are linked to two brothers whose bodies were never found after a plane crash in 2005. –CTV

(July 18 ) Exclusive CTV video below

INVESTIGATORS NOW LOOKING AT CASE OF FOOTLESS BODY FOUND ON BEACH IN WASHINGTON STATE’S SAN JUAN ISLANDS

Updated: July 18, 6:40pm PST

News reports are just now popping-up on the Web that one of five “mystery feet” that have surfaced in the waters near Vancouver, British Columbia has been matched to a man who was known to be depressed.

Canada’s Globe & Mail goes as far to deliver the headline, Investigators match severed foot to missing man.

CTV’s more conservative headline reads, A possible breakthrough in missing feet mystery.

Be sure to visit the (above) CTV link as a *VIDEO* of tonight’s 6 o’clock CTV news story has just been added, to include exclusive coverage of the footless body that washed-up in nearby Washington State (more on that below).

CTV reports that investigators have made a DNA match between one of the feet and a missing man.  No word on the man’s name yet.  CTV says the name might not be released until next week.

It’s a paragraph near the end of the CTV story (near the bottom of the ol’ inverted pyramid) that, in my opinion, is worth of its own headline:

Meanwhile, CTV news has uncovered what may be another piece of the puzzle of the mystery feet. Today we spoke to a coroner who is dealing with a body with no feet.

That will get your attention.  True to nice television “tease”, CTV advises readers to tune it 6pm.

CTV (Canada) has also posted this updated article this evening.

The Beyond90Seconds archives on this case make for a fascinating collective read.  Follow the link to the archives, then scroll down to go back in time…

More on today’s development as it comes in…

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“Mystery Feet” news conference: 2 feet from same man (VIDEO)

New (July 11): New leads emerge after B.C. police reveal shoes… (globeandmail.com)

New: CBC News video:

New: Cops seek help in solving missing feet mystery (CTV Video)

New: Pictures of all 5 shoes (in post below)

New: Cororner’s findings, DNA analysis yields more clues in feet mystery (pdf)

New: Transcript of opening remarks from investigators.

New: CTV raw (UNEDITED) VIDEO of the news conference

Part 1 (runs 8:12)
Part 2
(runs 15:28 )

(July 10) Canada’s CTV is reporting that two of five human feet that have washed ashore in the Strait of Georgia over the past year are from the same man.

Not surprisingly, several stories about today’s news conference are now appearing on the Internet.  Here’s an excerpt from a report published on the Toronto Star’s Web site:

Although, initially, all the feet found were believed to be male, police now say that one of the feet belonged to a woman.

Constable Annie Linteau said there is no evidence that the feet were severed.

And here’s an excerpt from the CTV report:

Appearing at a news conference, RCMP Const. Annie Linteau said there is no evidence of trauma or tool markings to suggest the feet were severed.

“It appears it’s a natural process of decomposition,” she said, adding, “We have to be aware these still could be homicide victims.”

This distinction regarding the word “severed” is important.

Shoes 1 and 2
Shoes 1 and 2

I’ve refrained from using it in my stories about this case because it seems to me that “severed”–in its popular usage–strongly suggests that someone had cut the feet from the bodies.

After reading KOMO-TV’s July 9 headline about this case on komonews.com, I felt compelled to revisit the definition of sever. KOMO’s headline read, Retracing the steps of the severed feet.

(note:  I’ve just noticed KOMO also uses “severed” in its headline concerning today’s news conference, Police: Two of Canada’s severed feet from same person)

KOMO’s headlines are deserving of scrutiny given this afternoon’s declarative sentence from the Toronto Star: “Constable Annie Linteau said there is no evidence that the feet were severed.”

KOMO isn’t alone, at the very moment Constable Linteau firmly states that there is no evidence that any of the feet were severed, CTV put the the following words over at the bottom of the video:  Update on B.C. severed feet investigation (the headline for this story on CTV’s Web site opts for the word “detached”: RCMP update the detached feet case.

When I went to dictionary.com this morning, I found 6 definitions for “sever”, including:

1.  to separate (a part) from the whole, as by cutting or the like, and

2.  to divide into parts, esp. forcibly; cleave.

Shoes 3 & 4
Shoes 3 & 4

Loosely, I felt “severed” worked in this case.  But in the popular use of the word, especially as it implies some sort of cutting, I don’t think it’s the best word here.  One could argue that to do so is even misleading; especially in light of information that came from today’s news conference.

I worked in TV news for 20-years, and I can almost hear the argument in a newsroom for using “severed” (someone has no doubt quipped that the “sexiness” of the word gives the story “more legs”).

In previous media reports that have addressed “theories” for the mystery feet, investigators and scientists have stated that the most likely explanation for the feet in this case is the natural underwater “decomposition” of bodies.

In its excellent June 23 report, 5 feet, few clues make 1 big B.C. mystery, the Seattle Times addressed several possible explanations for the feet, including:

The feet are the result of the natural decomposition of people who have drowned or gone missing in the Strait.

Pro: This theory is most favored by experts, who say there is no evidence of foul play.

Con: The number of feet found in a short time — without any accompanying body parts — makes for an incredible coincidence.

All of this hardly sounds like someone’s going around cutting feet off of people (living or dead).

Shoe 5
Shoe 5

While it’s still possible, the experts have suggested it is the less likely explanation for this case.

Even if the decomposition theory turns out to be correct, foul-play could be involved. Afterall, how did these people die (if we are to assume they are dead)?

And if, in fact, the entirety of the bodies were/are in the Strait of Georgia, how did they end up there?

###

Previous posts on Mystery Feet:

July 9:     Breaking News: Police to hold news conference about human feet mystery
June 28:  Pig video lends insight into B.C. human feet mystery
June 23:  Truth yet to surface in human feet mystery

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Breaking News: Police to hold news conference about human feet mystery (VIDEO)

Update (July 10, 11:01am PST)News conference underway: 2-feet came from same person

Update (July 10: 9:48am PST): As we wait for today’s news conference, I thought I’d feature two new videos about the “Mystery Feet” story.

(Please allow a few seconds for video to load.)

Seattle’s KOMO-TV aired a nicely-produced story (above) last night. KOMO’s story does a good job of capturing the intrigue of this case.  The KOMO story also includes interviews with two researchers featured in a June 28 Beyond90Seconds.com report (Pig video lends insight into B.C.’s human feet mystery): forensic scientist Gail Anderson and University of Victoria researcher Richard Dewey.  Dewey is the chief scientist behind the Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea (VENUS) project.

The second video comes from Canada’s CTV television network and does a terrific job of delivering exclusive information.  Specifically, we learn that the shoes the feet were found in will be displayed at today’s news conference.  The CTV story also states that DNA testing has been completed on all five feet. This is especially significant for relatives of a 2005 plane crash.  Five people died in that watery crash.  But four of the victims have never been located. Investigators do have DNA profiles for those missing plane crash victims.  Based on the CTV report, a headline coming out that new conference later today might be, Mystery feet not connected to plane crash, police seeking public’s help.

But let’s wait and see…

You can watch the CTV story here.

(July 9) Despite a determined effort to stay tight-lipped about the mystery of five human feet that have emerged from the watery depths off of British Columbia, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police now appear ready to give-in to increased pressure from world media outlets.

Today, investigators said that they will hold a “media briefing” Thursday.

According to a Vancouver Sun (Canwest News Service) report :

Authorities in British Columbia have been so inundated with calls from around the world concerning the mysterious human feet that have been washing up on the province’s shores that investigators have promised to hold a media briefing to update the public on the case.

The RCMP and the B.C. Coroners Service have scheduled a joint news conference for Thursday morning in Vancouver. Officials from each agency will answer questions that are relevant to the public interest, the RCMP said Wednesday.

One question left unanswered:  Will investigators show any of the five mystery sneakers at the news conference?  It would appear to be a logical move aimed at generating tips.

According to today’s Vancouver Sun, organizers of Thursday’s news conference are not planning to address yesterday’s discovery of a human foot on a beach in Sweden.

For more insights into this investigation, check out this blog’s earlier story, Pig Video lends insight into B.C.’s  human feet mystery.

You can also read my initial post on this investigation, Truth yet to surface in human feet mystery.  At the time of that initial story, police had announced plans to hold a news conference.

It never happened.

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